Taking a dog into your home is a major commitment, one not to be entered into lightly. There are many factors to take into consideration before bringing home an animal for which you’ll be responsible for a long time. Think of him as a member of the family because that’s how you’ll need to treat him if he’s to enjoy a long, happy life. In that context, think carefully about how a dog will fit in with your family. Is he too big or too small? Is he a breed that tends to be too frenetic and hyper or too aggressive and unpredictable? Does he fit within your lifestyle? Remember, the criteria you use to select a dog should be based on how you live.
Although Roxy was ‘just a dog’, and she died over 8 years ago, recalling her last day still feels heartbreaking for owner Jennifer Muldowney. In fact, she says it was one of the worst days of her life and has inspired her upcoming Tedx Talk in Tallaght this Thursday October 12th.
“She was 16 – quite old for any puppy – and she’d had a series of strokes,” says Jennifer, 35.
“I had just returned from the holiday of a lifetime in Cuba and when I arrived home Roxy came running out as usual to say hello. But everything wasn’t usual - I knew something was wrong. Four hours and another stroke later we were taking her to her death. We had her for 16 years, she was part of the family. She was my best friend through childhood, teenage years and adulthood. I felt like I was betraying her.”
Jennifer’s deep emotions regarding the day her dog was euthanized strikes a familiar chord with just about anyone who has ever lost a beloved pet to euthanasia — more commonly known as “putting a dog to sleep.”
The aftermath was even worse than the act itself, Jennifer says “I often ask myself did we do the right thing, could she have gotten better or was she saying thank you. Her eyes never left mine as she died. And then afterwards, people just don’t know what to do with you, theres no funeral or blueprint to follow. You feel awkward calling into work asking for some time off. You feel your friends look at you thinking “Just get over it, its only a dog” especially if they have had human loss. It seems self indulgent to even think of mourning a pet when faced with human loss so feelings get hidden and grief gets buried deep.”
Ireland is changing when it comes to pet loss as we see recognition of the grief people experience when a beloved pet dies where we never saw it before. There are helplines offering support and a listening ear. You can buy pet condolence cards, memorial jewellery. Pet funeral businesses are springing up: pet cemeteries and pet crematoriums with pet specific caskets, urns and keepsake jewellery.
One study by the Funeral Co-op in the UK found that more than a quarter of respondents had found their pet’s death as difficult as the death of a family member, and a third thought it was on a level with the loss of a friend. Nearly half of the bereaved owners were still mourning after two months, and 16 per cent were struggling a year later.
While it might seem self indulgent or the ‘world gone mad with millenials’ by older generations to mourn the loss of a pet or compare it to the loss of human life, to some it can be just as heartbreaking. All loss and grief is important and essential experiences of the human psych but grief that is dismissed by others can be more painful still.
Pets are often with us 24/7, reliant on us for food, water, exercise, and survival. They become our confidantes and in some cases have been known to prevent suicidal thoughts and help with mental illnesses. Here is a living being who will not judge, reprimand, or dismiss your thoughts, actions or feelings and yet when they pass the loss can be dismissed as ‘just a dog’. It’s not right.
Irish milliner Philip Treacy lost his jack russell, ‘Mr Pig’ in 2004 and said ‘I saw Mr Pig as my friend, not my dog. He was my everything; he was like my child. He was by my side, day and night, for 12 years. How many humans could you say that about?’ Treacy even went on to compose a book Dog Stories, which is an anthology of stories of well-known people (Lady Annabel Goldsmith, Sir Jackie Stewart, Lord Hattersley, Anna Pasternak, Petronella Wyatt, Edward du Cann and Tom Rubython) and their dogs. They recount the adventures of their pets, and the happiness and ultimate sadness they brought to the lives of their owners.
Jennifer used her grief to build a business helping others to grieve and started a company called Rainbow Bridge Memorials offering condolence cards, pet conscious cards and memorial jewellery but it is more than just a business as she says “It has become a community. We have a Facebook page where people will often post about their pet or their grief and others chime in and offer support. We all know the sadness of pet loss and the difficulty in speaking about it to others who don’t have pets. The emails I receive from my clients about my jewellery often overwhelm me as they tell me how much it helps them in their grieving process and some of the emails were heartbreaking to read. It brought the loss of Roxy up all over again but I guess I started the business because when we lost Roxy, I still wanted her with me every day and wherever I go and with the jewellery I can do that and it helps.”
They will all run and play together until suddenly one will stop and look into the distance, his/her bright eyes are intent and body shaking with excitement.
They will break from the group and start running over the green grass, faster and faster.
You have been spotted.
When you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face, your hands cuddling them and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.
Our 3rd year of running "Ireland's Favourite Groomer" !!
We always get such amazing nominations that this year we want to make the competition even bigger and better!
First we need you to nominate your groomer - do this by sending us a picture of YOUR puppy and tag your groomers on the photo. You can do this on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, we will be running this comp across all our channels so the more the merrier!
WHAT TO DO: upload your picture, tag us (so we can see it obviously!) and tag your groomers too or say their name in the post!
We will round up all nominees by December 20th and then announce the shortlist for voting giving all those shortlisted a very Merry Christmas indeed <3
If your puppy and groomer win, the Groomer gets an "Ireland's Favourite Groomer 2017" beautiful glass trophy and you and your puppy win their gorgeous little furry face forever memorialised on one of our Glass Photo Weights!
AND...THE WINNER(S) are......Julie Smith and Louise Connolly!!!!!
We couldn't choose between these two beauts. They truly have such dedicated clientele and such passion for their jobs that it was a clear winner to choose the two! Double trouble indeed! <3
Both will win a trophy saying "Ireland's Favourite Groomer 2017", have their photos taken and the featured puppy(s) win their gorgeous little furry face forever memorialised on one of our Glass Photo Weights! We have never seen such amazing love and trust and celebration of our furry ones than with these two. ALL of the nominees are fantastic and will receive a small prize. It warms our hearts to see such love out there for our furry babies. Keep up the lovin' guys. #StrongerTogether xxx
The Dogs of Ireland.
Being Irish I might have a special place in my heart for these breeds but I think they truly represent Ireland, the Irish spirit and the warm Irish soul.
Independent, stubborn, intelligent and always up to no good, the Irish Setter sounds like my perfect dog! It is a tireless puppy that will hunt in wet or dry weather. The name setter comes from the knack of ‘setting’ which means locating and point out game birds. It is a popular dog with American politicians.
Such a beautiful dog both physically and mentally, there are two types. The red one is the more physically glamorous with its luscious red locks. It is the icon of one of the most famous bus brands in Ireland Bus Eireann. The red and white one faced near extinction during WWI. So much so, that it is pretty possible that every current red and white Irish setter has descended from a poorly female puppy what was given to a Maureen Cuddy in 1940. She almost single handedly saved this special breed from extinction.
Another Irish breed - the little known (probably because of its name!) Irish pup is the Irish Water Spaniel. It’s such an interesting breed. It has two coats - one short, dense and thick layer that provides warmth and insulation. Their outer layer provides protection and water resistance.
Lastly we could not mention Irish dog breeds without mentioning the noble Irish Wolfhound. It has played its part in much folklore, many historic battles, featured in fairytales and more but there is nothing imaginary about this gentle giant. They are known for their hunting prowess but also their companionship, which gave way to the saying “Gentle when stroked, fierce when provoked.” Often owned by nobility Irish Greyhounds have been homed with Richard III, Anne Boyleyn, Henry VII, Queen Elizabeth I and George Washington to name but a few.
When considering adoption ask yourself
Please note ALL dogs need adequate outdoor time, running, walks, rest, feeding, grooming